With so many articles, discussions, and papers about the state of doom and gloom our environment is in, it was refreshing to see a post and link on Facebook from an old colleague about an optimistic take on the future of children and the outdoors.
The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, was one of those books that has had a lasting effect on me. When I was growing up, I was lucky to have parents who loved to spend time outdoors. My sister and I grew up dipping nets off the boardwalks of Point Pelee National Park, playing outside in our backyard under maple trees, collecting rocks and exploring trails. I can’t imagine a childhood without nature, and as society moves into the comfort of home and technology, and away from the outdoors, I wonder what life will be like for my children, should I choose to have any.
I think if we, as environmental educators, continue to read and acknowledge the pessimistic views on the future of our wild spaces and the lack of interest or opportunities for outdoor education, we can learn about how and where to improve. It can bog us down when we let the negative ideals get to us, and we need to believe that we can make a difference, and that there is merit to what we are pursuing.
Having Louv address a room full of pediatricians about his theory of nature deficit disorder, and the medical professionals agreeing with his theory connects two worlds that sometimes seem very separated.